When it's more than 64 characters, less than 1024, is an original work, is published under a Creative Commons "Share Alike" licence and is hosted on a really interesting new AOL property called Ficlets.

What makes ficlets interesting, and more than just another exercise in creative writing is that although most of them can stand alone any other user can contribute a prequel or sequel - allowing the fragment of fiction to become a part of a much larger narrative.

Any registered member (you'll need either an AOL screenname or, better yet, an OpenID) can comment on the ficlet, rate it or integrate it into a stream. Any ficlet can have multiple prequals or sequels which expands the possibilities in a multitude of ways beyond what the original author could ever have imagined.

To help fire up the creative juices they link to a number of "inspiration" sources - flickr photostreams and sample story opening/endings and "this day in history" type facts.

The registration isn't onerous and IMO will help to ensure that the site doesn't become spammed. Like HubPages it's easy for users to report inappropriate content and the system to tidy up. Ficlets can be flagged as "mature" and only those who opt in to view the more salacious material will be troubled by racy material (AOL have made their reputation on "family friendly" and "ease of use" and it's good to see it put to good effect here)